Paysannes bretones (1894; France) by Paul Gauguin

Paysannes bretones - Paul Gauguin - 1894; France

Artwork Information

TitlePaysannes bretones
ArtistPaul Gauguin
Date1894; France
Dimensions66 x 92.5 cm
Art MovementCloisonnism
Current LocationMusée d'Orsay, Paris, France

About Paysannes bretones

The artwork “Paysannes bretones” by Paul Gauguin, created in 1894 in France, is an oil on canvas painting that embodies the Cloisonnism movement. This genre painting, with dimensions of 66 by 92.5 cm, is currently housed at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France.

“Paysannes bretones” depicts two Breton peasant women in a rural landscape. The composition is characterized by bold, vivid colors and strong outlines that define the figures and their surroundings, a hallmark of the Cloisonnism style, which emphasizes flat areas of color and bold contours. The women are dressed in traditional Breton garments—notice the distinct headdresses, aprons, and layers of clothing—which provide insight into the regional costumes of the time.

In the background, one can see the lush green countryside of Brittany, punctuated by houses with red roofs. There’s a sense of stillness to the scene, yet also a hint of intimate conversation between the two subjects, suggested by their proximity and the way one seems to be looking at the other. The landscape forms are stylized, and the colors are non-naturalistic, which contributes to the overall decorative effect. Gauguin’s technique and his interest in depicting the simple life of the rural people are evident in this piece, reflecting his broader search for a raw and primal aesthetic away from the industrialized society of his time.

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